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Theology Notebook

This is cool.

From Von Balthasar's Theo-Drama: Theological Dramatic Theory, Vol. III, Dramatis Personae: Persons in Christ, pp. 457-458:

Everything begins with the child's being addressed by a Thou. This is essentially a loving address and is experienced as such; it awakens the slumbering subject to an awareness both of himself and of the world. This primal act of spiritual life contains three elements:

First of all, there is the awareness that being a self is inseparable from owing oneself to another. This awareness is at the level of being, even before it can be grasped and affirmed consciously. Initially this ontological indebtedness may attach to the person who looks after the child, for example, its mother. Eventually the child learns that its mother too (like all other human beings) owes her existence to another; this does not weaken the primal sense of indebtedness or render it superfluous: it only opens it up to its explicit, underlying religious ground. Every human being who is awakened to freedom owes his existence ultimately to an ultimate freedom. At its very origin, therefore, infinite freedom is communicative; it is not purely transcendent and self-sufficient.

Next there is the awareness that, where freedom lays hold of itself, it lays hold of being at its deepest and broadest. However, my own subject does not exhaust this being (which is all gift); I must leave it open and free for countless other subjects. This is confirmed by my very first and fundamental I-thou experience. I only possess my own incommunicable subjectivity insofar as I leave room in myself for other subjects. In this way, I experience the structure of being as such, which thus contains an "image" of the trinitarian constitution of absolute Being.

Finally there is the awareness that, having been addressed by a free, loving Thou, I am both given an answer and called to give one in return. The gift implies a task. Having been awakened to free subjectivity, I have also been entrusted with a "mission"; what I have been given is to be transformed and freely given back, and in this way I shall not lose it: on the contrary, now I shall really possess it for the first time. This third intuition that indwells the primal act foreshadows something of which Christology speaks, namely, the way the conscious subject (Christ) becomes a Person by laying hold of his ultimate divine mission.

These three elements form the core of an ontology of finite freedom...
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